A perfect match

Rachael and Gareth married intimately in front of a very special few, adding an informal party vibe post-vows

It was work that bought Rachael and Gareth together, and the two of them clicked while both out for Christmas drinks with colleagues on 23rd December, 2009, and have been inseparable ever since. “We didn't have an official first date but we arranged to meet up again with our friends in Cardiff on Boxing Day night, and we ended up seeing each other more or less every day after that,” recalls Rachael.

“We had a very natural connection and fell for each other straightaway. We were head over heels and, by the February, had moved in together.”

In August 2014, on Rachael's 30th birthday, while the pair were at home, Gareth gave her a card. Dressed in a suit, with Bruno Mars' Just The Way You Are playing in the background, Rachael opened the card that had the words 'To my fiancé' on the front, and Gareth was down on one knee asking her to marry him. “It was very emotional and a complete surprise,” recalls Rachael. “Our two-and-a-half year old daughter Maddison was stood with him during the proposal.”

With clear ideas of how they wanted their big day, the pair started planning their nuptials quite quickly, with the focus being on the marriage itself followed by a big party.

Here, Rachael shares more...

A perfect match: Image 1

We both knew that we'd be emotional when we got married, as it meant so much to us, so we choose Castell Coch as it created an intimate setting to say our vows in front of only 24 loved ones, and it has lovely grounds

 
A perfect match: Image 2a

As Gareth's a solicitor, he wears a suit every day, so he wanted something different for our wedding. He looked gorgeous in a check suit, horseshoe waistcoat and patterned Ted Baker shirt with brogues, a pocket watch and tie pin, which fitted with our vintage theme.

A perfect match: Image 2b

I tried on countless dresses before discovering you could customise your own at Bridgend's Pink Butterfly Bridal boutique. They allowed me to create my dream champagne-coloured ball gown wedding dress, made just for me.

 
A perfect match: Image 3

Gareth has a very close group of friends, so he chose his two oldest pals Jeremy and James as his best men. All the other guys wore matching handmade vintage buttonholes to still feel involved.

 
A perfect match: Image 4a

Our reception venue was very us as it's relaxed, rustic and has stunning secluded surroundings. We didn't have a formal sit-down wedding breakfast or speeches; we got married at 3.30pm and had a drinks reception at The Countryman Inn, before evening guests arrived to start the party, where we served a hot evening buffet.

A perfect match: Image 4b

“We both knew that we'd be emotional when we got married as it meant so much to us.” – Rachael

 
A perfect match: Image 5

My twin sister Rebecca was my bridesmaid and she looked stunning in a nude vintage-style, floor-length strapless dress from Coast. We both carried glamorous handmade crystal bouquets made by Pink Butterfly Brides.

 
A perfect match: Image 6a

Candles, lace-covered jars and lanterns decorated our venue.

A perfect match: Image 6b

Our cake was red velvet – our favourite!

 
A perfect match: Image 7

My father sings in the Côr Meibion Choir, Abercynon, so he arranged for them to sing for us at Castell Coch as a surprise. This was very emotional; when I entered the courtyard they were singing You Are So Beautiful.

 
A perfect match: Image 8a

I wore a birdcage veil with a handmade fascinator

A perfect match: Image 8b

Our band Jammy and The Dodgers kept the dancefloor full all night.

 
A perfect match: Image 9

We wanted a photographer that took alternative, natural shots. Andrew was great; he fitted in really well with our friends and family and was a great guy to have around as part of our day.

 

Rachael and Gareth's contact book


Band
Jammy and The Dodgers
jamesharris-music@hotmail.com

Bride's and bridesmaid's nails
Miskin Manor Spa
www.miskin-manor.co.uk

Bride's dress and crystal bouquets
Pink Butterfly Brides
www.pinkbutterflybrides.co.uk

Bride's hair
Lasco Hair Centre
Tel: 01443 478 888

Bridesmaid's dress
Coast
www.coast-stores.com

Ceremony venue
Castell Coch
www.cadw.gov.wales

Choir
CÔr Meibion Choir
www.southwalesmalechoir.co.uk

Groom's pre-wedding preparations
Bryn Meadows Hotel
www.brynmeadows.co.uk

Groom's pre-wedding preparations
Bunch of Grapes
www.bunchofgrapes.org.uk

Groom's suit
Moss Bros
www.moss.co.uk

Photographer
Silver Birch Photography
www.silverbirchphotography.co.uk

Reception venue
The Countryman Inn
www.the-countryman-inn.co.uk

Transport
Price's Wedding Cars
www.pricesweddingcars.co.uk